Singapore has quickly become one of the stars of the calendar as the first night race, but it’s truly unique for another reason.
The circuit demands unique countermeasures, such as electrical shielding, be put in place by the teams to avoid super natural powers taking over.
It has nothing to do with the lights which line the circuit, but something below the streets which creates electrical interference and temporarily gains control of each Formula 1 car passing above.
It’s thought the trains passing below the circuit are the likely cause, but this has never been proven, as McLaren’s technical director Tim Goss explains: “Singapore has a quirky little technical problem that’s specific to the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Near the Anderson Bridge the cars pass over something underground – we’ve never ascertained what it is – that creates electrical interference on the cars.
“Sensors start showing some strange readings and the actuators that control the throttle position and the clutch start moving and are no longer under the control of the driver.
“It lasts for a very short period of time, but the worrying thing is that if we get that little burst of electrical interference just as the car is making a gear change, it can upset the delicate timing of the throttle, the clutch and the gear change barrel. It can actually upset the shift and cause a gear to break.
“The first time we went to Singapore it was quite a serious problem because we’d never experienced it before, but we now know what countermeasures to take, such as electrical shielding on the car and a few other software changes.”